How to get a job (In Chicago)

I got a job!!!!  WOooot!!

Fiercetyra

Actually I got a job like a month ago (ha!  One day before my arbitrary and unrealistic -May 30-deadline that I gave myself to feel some sort of self worth that obviously backfired because it resulted in 2 months of self-loathing before I got the offer).

selfloathing

But that’s in the past now!  And through this sorted process of job finding I learned a few things about how you get jobs.

You see, for the past 9 years I have been in the stressful, but protective bubble of school.  Scholarships, work study, student loans, practica, etc all protected me from the real world.  I had jobs, bartending, serving, tutoring, I was Sauerkraut Girl for one glorious winter break.  But I never felt bad about these temporary and low paying jobs because I convinced myself, well, deluded myself into thinking that I would be better on the other side.  I would be big fancy doctor pants and it would all be worth it.  Not getting a serving job that I didn’t care about didn’t matter because there were 100 bars all over the place that always needed someone.

Enter impending graduation and forced entry into the real world.

fight-my-way

It turns out when you work really hard on something, a degree, you want really hard to prove that you deserve it and that you’re good at it.  The first step to that is finding a job that utilizes said degree.  Every single time you get rejected it provides a little proof that you do not deserve that degree.  No matter how hard you worked, you still suck.   Every single time a cohort member gets a job, you hate them and yourself more.

angst

You polish and polish and polish your resume.  You realize you are polishing a turd.  You cry.  You eat feelings.  This goes on for months.

But Bowie explained all of that.

Gratuitous use of the most ridiculous moment in film.

Gratuitous use of the most ridiculous moment in film.

Anyway, I actually got two fellowship offers.  And you know what I realized through these offers?  There are only two ways to get a job in Chicago.  Nepotism or amazingly cute shoes.

Add shoes and a connection and you have a job in this town.

Add shoes and a connection and you have a job in this town.

I know right?  I mean, nepotism doesn’t surprise anyone.  This is Chicago.  We can quit pretending like this surprises us.  My first job offer came from a friend of a friend.  Friend passed CV to her friend, kablam!  Offer.  Legit, like no interview until after offer was made.

Shoes?   I wish I was making that up.  I wear different shoes all the time.  I love shoes.  But I have one pair of shoes that I have worn to pretty much every successful interview, save my current placement.  They are old and they are cute as hell.  I bought them for grad school interviews and those bitches have kept me solid ever since.  And this is not even belief in luck.  I always have someone comment on the shoes at the school or agency.  I wore them to interview at a site way beyond my reach, and those fuckers hired me!  Only, of course, after commenting on my shoes.  Now, these shoes are not comfortable in any way.  Or even fancy; I bought them at Target in 2008.  But they are my “Hey, I’m a 6 ft tall badass therapist” shoes, apparently.  They’re old and worn out.  But I’m afraid if I get rid of them I will be forever unemployed.

Shoes

Anyway, that is the story of how I got a job and value as a human being.

The End

Aww thanks, Cumby!

Aww thanks, Cumby!

Murder and Mental Illness…and other things.

I live in the Columbine Generation.  I’ve seen so many mass shootings in my life that they have sadly become commonplace.  Every several months, and I fully realize how fucked up this is to say, but every few months they occur in a near predictable way.  With few exceptions, the perpetrator is generally a straight, white, male.  Also generally upper or upper-middle class.

We naturally look for an explanation when these things occur.  We look at these individuals’ backgrounds, their families, their social groups, etc.  We conclude that they were isolated, struggled to connect with people, depressed, clearly suffering from severe mental illness.

And that’s where I stop.  I stop for so many reasons.  Unqualified talking heads making judgments about mental illness with absolutely no understanding of what they’re saying.  Almost never do they invite a qualified psychologist to speak on the subject.   Pundits then go into this long history of what warning signs should have been seen and by who and subtly trying to place blame, but placing blame is apparently outdated so they talk about “faults in the system.”  Then they go into gun control, because that dead horse is apparently still worth beating.

But why do we always look to mental illness for these shootings?  These privileged men had to have been missing something.  They must have been on the fringe in some way.  One of the “out group” in some way.  Because the man that murdered so many innocents can’t be the same as the man that judges him on the television.  So what minority can we shove him in?  Because he can’t be “one of us.”  So we smack on the “mentally ill” label, and we feel better.  We are once again secure in knowing that the shooter is “one of them.”  Different.  Not us.

Beyond being a member of the Columbine Generation, I also live in Chicago.  I live in a city where murders occur practically every day.  And yet, we don’t talk about mental illness.  In fact, we close down mental health facilities and talk about gangs and “urban crime.”  We ignore the fact of trauma and trauma-related disorders because we have something more convenient already.

I’m not saying that these spree killers didn’t have mental illnesses, but I wouldn’t be stupid enough to open my mouth and say that they did without evidence either.  I do agree with the plethora of articles out there that talk about the impact of privilege on spree killers.

I’m a systemic person.  I need to just get a Bronfenbrenner tattoo because it would save me time in explaining this fucking circle.

Let us look again at how each layer of influence and how it might contribute to Affluena.

I’m so over trying to explain this shit.

But really, we need to stop looking for the quick explanation in mass murders.  I don’t like being the Columbine Generation.  I don’t like that I can name over a dozen mass killings off the top of my head.  But if we want them to actually stop, we need to look at it systemically and stop screaming “Mental Illness!” at each other.  Because clearly this does nothing.  And it ignores the murders that occur on the streets every day (kinda like the news).

Job (or Postdoc) Searches as explained by Bowie

(Because this is all there is in my head.)

obliette
First comes the sudden realization that you are graduating at some point.  That the graduate school bubble of security will end.  Oh, and also, you have to pay back all those loans.

panic

But it’s okay, right?  Because through all of that schooling and training you gained awesome experience.  You know what you want and you can do it!  Who would pass up someone like you?  This is completely delusional, you just don’t know it yet.  So you start confidently sending out application after application.

bowiethenextday

But after one or two or three dozen and no responses…

ponderingbowie

And then you start to think there may just be something wrong with you.  Because seriously, WTF?  Are you not even worth a rejection letter?

waiting

And you think maybe that professor that openly hated you, that you had constant mental warfare with, might have been right.  And maybe you should have taken the hints and reconsidered this a long time ago.

But then, just when you’ve finished that 5th pint of Americone Dream (because it’s inspirational ice cream), you get an interview!  And after one second of celebration, you suddenly realize that means you have to be impressive in person.  That’s really hard and sucky.

almost

But you try to pretend like you’re capable or something like that.  So you get all dressed up and put on your game face.

dressing

bowiegameface

And when you get there, you try to be all confident and shit.

bowieclass

But halfway through the interview, you realize you haven’t breathed in like 10 minutes and you’re running out of ways to say “Please dear god hire me.  I will do anything.”

breathing

So that was a bust.

bowie done

(Or, I don’t know.  Some people have that confidence thing and walk out of interviews all like this:)

bowieyay!

I don’t know. I don’t get it. Is this real? Do people ever actually feel like this after interviews?

Then people want to ask you how it went.  No matter how much you try to hide from people.  Your friends and family are always going to ask how things are going.  If you’re excited for graduation.  What your plans are.  And you have no answers.  Like, at all.

questionquestion2

And then your friends and loved ones will try to distract you.

distraction

Or sympathize.

notalone

And you’re just all like:

keepyourmouthshut

Because:

getting older

bowietears

 

More fails in jobs searches

Is there anything more painful than job applications?  You fill out one after another until you completely lose track.  You hear nothing for weeks.  If you ever do hear anything, there’s a 90% chance it’s a rejection.  One the off chance you get an interview, you get so excited that you spend your last 50 bucks on a new outfit to feel confident and impress the world with.  You get to the interview only to find 10 other people who did the same thing.  You start to have panic attacks.  You make up stupid answers to stupid questions, when the reality of the fact is, nothing you say or they say matters, you just need a job and will do anything they ask.

daisy

“What do you think you can add to this agency?” “Well, I’m totally adaptable and am willing to provide any answer you want to hear.  I work well with others, but I’m also a great leader, but also I can play a supporting role if that’s what you need.  I’m totally proficient at *insert computer/billing program, and if not I will spend countless sleepless nights mastering it.  I will do anything you ask and I will never let you down and if I ever do, I will completely tolerate the entire office throwing shade at me for weeks.  Also, I poop rainbows and stardust.  I’m willing to buy donuts and Starbucks for everyone everyday forever.  Please, please, please.  I’m begging you.  If I kill all the other applicants, does that mean you have to take me?  Because I think that shows real dedication.”

hiddleston

Of course there are those few times that you are applying for (and maybe even interview for) your dream job.  And you try so hard to impress them and be all like “I’m the greatest!  I’m so awesome.  But I am nothing compared to you!  Please just let me be in your presence!”  And they’re all like, naw bitch.

arieldisapp

And then of course, you apply for jobs that you absolutely no interest in and would probably be bad at anyway, but you need something, so hey, why not?  And these are inevitably the ones that call you for an interview and you get there and you’re like “….ummm, yeah no.”  And they’re like “…ummmm, yeah no.”  And even though that interchange was mutual, you still leave feeling like crap.

cumbyinterview

Sometimes you hear nothing for months.  But you somehow convince yourself that maybe, just MAYBE they’re still getting around to making their decision and there is some hope that you might still have a job opportunity.   You know you’re lying to yourself.  And you can’t even feel good about telling yourself that lie, but you’ve run out of ice cream and alcohol and all you have left is that lie.

blair1

And your friends and significant others will try to tell you how awesome you are and you know that they’re only being supportive.  And some of them might actually believe that you are awesome.  But this too, is a lie.  Because how can you be awesome if none of these jobs think you’re awesome?  You can’t be.  It’s just not possible.  Clearly you suck and have nothing to offer anyone.  They’re not even interested in your rainbow/stardust poops.  What more can you do.

mulder
Enter quiet desperation.  At this point, I only talk to my dog because he can still think I’m awesome.  Until my current internship ends and I can no longer afford his food or denti-bones.  And I lose so much weight from not being able to afford to eat myself, that I wither away to nothing and I’m not even comfortable to sleep on.  Then he will not think I’m awesome.  And then I will have lost everything.

Beagle-Puppy-3

But I will continue to look for jobs and fellowships, because I have no choice.  I will continue to lay my self-worth in the hands of directors and committees.  For they are the deciding factor on whether or not I am worthwhile as an employee and therefore a person.

bowielove me

Affordable Healthcare wasn’t affordable for us.

As the deadline for ACA signup loomed, I was reading articles from all kinds of news sites with all sorts of opinions on why Millenials and the “Young Invincibles” were avoiding the healthcare sign up.  I learned that we were “uninformed” about healthcare and how we would all benefit so greatly from it.

arielconf

Well, my dear pundits and writers, the sad truth is: we can’t afford Affordable Healthcare.

Stephen-Colbert-telling-you-to-go-away

To be fair, I have insurance through school.  And it is really wonderful.  I actually got to go to Urgent Care guilt-free when I couldn’t walk.  I don’t have to worry about how I’m going to scrounge up money for the lady doctor.  Even seeing a therapist is covered.  So insurance is wonderful.

Boyfriend, however, does not have insurance.  Through his work, it is about $250.  Even through the ACA, it’s $145 a month.  Now, we do not make much money, even though we both work full time.  I’m on intern pay, meaning shit.  And we live in Chicago, meaning we pay outrageous amounts for everyday things and rent is out of control.  We’re homebodies and rarely go out.  I cook most nights.  I grew up in a big family, so I’m well versed in making cheap ingredients into big delicious things.  We’ve never taken a vacation together.  I get my hair cut 2-3 times a year and have never had my nails done.  We drive a 12 year-old car.  Point being: We’re simple folk.  There isn’t much for us to cut back on.

budge

We know that it would be a good thing for boyfriend to get insurance.  He’s in really good health, but accidents happen and insurance is happy!  When we got the quote, however, we had to wrestle back and forth with our budget.  Could we cut anything and where.  And believe me, we have  spreadsheet of our expenses down to our dog’s denta-bones.  We wrestled with this for weeks, until the deadline for sign up.  And when it came down to it, we can’t carve out $145 a month.

tired

This is the reality that the news coverage is not recognizing.  I talk to our friends, most of which are in the same situation. The plans that are affordable don’t really cover anything, or only kick in after you spend several thousands of dollars.  So pretty much, stay in killer health or approach death are the plans that are offered that are affordable.

watson

We want health insurance.  We know that we would be better off with it.  However, we also need to eat and pay rent.  Many of us are stuck working low paying jobs, without the hope of a raise or promotion.  Job searches go on forever with no hope.

nofuture

So boyfriend is forced to opt out.  Not because he doesn’t want insurance.  Not because we hate Obamacare.  But because, not matter how much we work and how much we try to cut back, we can’t afford this.  Sorry, Obama.  Sorry, media.  But we’re not obstinate.  We don’t think we’re invincible.  We don’t think you’re an evil socialist.  We’re just broke.

fuckedup

And it may sound stupid.  And we know that we’re rolling the dice here.  But we have been for awhile, and there’s no other choice right now.

letsgetdrunk

What is this “confidence” thing you speak of?

One of my earliest memories in life comes from my first parent-teacher conference (or maybe just a school meeting that I had to be at in Kindergarten).  My teacher told my parents something that I now hear on a semi-annual basis: “She’s just very shy.  She really needs to work on her confidence.”

blaireyeroll

At my mid-year review a few weeks ago, what did I hear again?  “You just need to work on your confidence.”

scullyeyeroll

What have I heard in just about every review/evaluation/what the fuck ever, is “…work on you confidence.”

sherlockthankyou

There is honestly no worse sentence to hear.  And I don’t see myself as supremely lacking in confidence.  Am I a bit socially anxious and insecure?  Yes.  Do I enjoy talking about myself and being forced to “identify strengths”?  God no.  But I see myself as capable and decent at my job?  Sure.  And what is wrong with a healthy level of self-doubt?

jennyme

I’ve met “confident” people and , to be completely honest, they annoy the fuck out of me.  They don’t bother to doubt themselves even when they’re obviously wrong.  And when you correct them, they smirk and give some condescending response.  Fuck confident people.  I would rather check in with someone and get feedback than go about my life assuming I’m doing everything right.  Seriously, I understand there is a difference between confidence and cockiness, but show me people who regularly walk this line well.

notokaywatson

Ugh.  That is just a rant that I needed to get out.  I’m so sick of being told to work on my confidence.  Alright, let’s go.  What “work” do I need to do?  Some push-ups?  I hear this kettle ball thing is supposed to be great?  What work should I be doing to get this confidence?  I think I have enough to deal with.  And I’ve made it this far apparently lacking in confidence.  I think I’ll just keep on doing what I’m doing.

jessicalange

Yeah. I don’t get weddings.

Ok.  I can’t not say it anymore:  I don’t get weddings.

I’m sorry to offend everyone and anyone who is married, wants to be married, is working on getting married, etc. I just….I don’t get weddings.

weddingcute
no fucks

I get being married.  I get the tax break thing.  The whole “now you can be on my insurance!” thing.  All of that legal contacting stuff.  And perhaps this adds more credence to boyfriend and best friend’s assertion that I’m an android.  Those things make sense.  If I share a house with you and most of my paycheck, yeah let’s file our taxes together!   Yeah, jump on my insurance!  Since I’m with you all the time anyway and you apparently trust me, yeah let me be in charge of medical decisions when you’re comatose.  These things are just logical.

Also, so you don't have to testify against each other.  Also, Chuck and Blair had the only acceptable TV wedding ever.

Also, so you don’t have to testify against each other in court.  Also, Chuck and Blair had the only acceptable TV wedding ever…because they’re Chuck and Blair.

Now weddings on the other hand are some sort of freakish social occurrence that the android part of me will never understand.  Is it my social anxiety and fact that I avoid groups of more than 3 at all costs?  Is it the fact that too many of my family being in the same room at once is grounds for Homeland Security intervention?  Or is it really that weddings make no fucking sense.

sherlock4sherlock2sherlockwedding3sherlockwedding4sherlockwedding5sherlock3sherlockwedding7

Thank you Sherlock.  Once again, you get me.

I’m at that point where it seems like everyone that I know is getting married.  It covers my facebook wall.  I hear talk about it everywhere I go.  And I honestly do feel like Data because I keep just thinking “I don’t get it.  What is this?  Why is this?  Do you have to do this?  What’s the point of this?”  I feel like I have to apologize all the time for not getting it.

datawedding

But if someone could kindly answer me these questions:

Why is there a ceremony and a reception?
Why are those two separate things, especially when you’re not at a church?
Why do you pay someone to make an itunes list of cliche songs that nobody actually likes?
Why do people make speeches?
What’s the deal with wedding parties?
Why is it okay to ask other people (parents) to pay for your wedding?
Why do you have a wedding shower?  And then you get gifts for a wedding shower and then for the wedding?
Why is it okay to ask for ridiculous, unnecessary things on your wedding registry?
Why is it so offensive to not attend weddings?
Why do people spend so much money on weddings?  Wouldn’t it be better to spend that on the honeymoon or, like, a house?Again, the wedding registry thing.  Don’t get it.  You already live together.  Why do you need more things?
What the hell with bachelor/bachelorette parties?
Why is there so much pomp and circumstance and “tradition” associated with weddings?
Why would you ever change your name?  Why is this an expectation or even a conversation?
Does everything really have to match?
You really have to make appointments to pick out place settings?  Why does any of this matter?
Why does everyone get so offended when people elope?
If having those two people in the same room is going to be a problem, why invite them?
Why is it so offensive to not invite certain people to weddings?
Why do brides drive themselves so insane planning weddings?

crazy

I ask these things not to be a dick, but because I honestly, truly don’t get it.  People get so stressed out and crazed about weddings and I simply do not understand why.  I understand that many of these things have very traditional roots.  But I thought we were past all of that?  Doweries, which is the root of why the bride’s family is expected to pay for/contribute to the wedding.  Name changing indicates a change of possession.  Bachelor/Bachelorette parties are supposed to be like the end of “freedom,” again, don’t get it.  Registries were intended to help the couple get on their feet and build a home.  But bitches already live together and they have that shit!  I have seen some of the greediest registries ever.  People asking for video game systems, TV’s, and all of this.  No.  How about I donate to a child welfare agency in your name instead of buying you some ridiculous shit that you could have bought yourself if you didn’t throw this weird party?

But that is weddings are.  They are a weird party.  I have gathered that weddings are a celebration that a couple can successfully make plans and a budget without breaking up.  Which I suppose is something to celebrate.

idol

To each their own.  But Boyfriend and I are going to continue living in sin until one of us has a job with benefits that the other can leach off of, then I’ll buy a pretty dress (because in that instance I can use “tradition” to justify the fact that I like to buy things) and we’ll sign papers and move on with our lives.  Maybe we’ll make people buy us stuff.  Because I would really love a cappuccino machine.

The love of a new cappuccino machine!

The love of a new cappuccino machine!

Oh and cake!  I like cake.   That part of weddings I agree with.  Keep that.

cake

The way we compliment bodies makes me uncomfortable.

jlawperfect

This might be one of the reasons I don’t get along with many people and many people find me awkward: I don’t like giving or receiving compliments based on body shape/size.  And I don’t think it is because I am super self-conscious or because I don’t notice other people’s bodies or even that I think bodies shouldn’t be noticed.  But complimenting bodies immediately establishes a hierarchy of what kind of body, what features, what what curves are acceptable to have.

“Wow you look so skinny!”
Verbal response:  “Thanks.”
Mental Response:  I’m actually chubby and I thought I looked good.  Please stop indicating I would be better off otherwise.

drjudgingyou

“All that running has been paying off!  You look great!”
Verbal response:  “Thanks.”
Mental response:  “Oh shit, my TMJ and stress symptoms must have become visible, because that’s the only part that feels better since running.”

internallyscreaming

“That dress makes you look so tiny around the waist!”
Verbal response:  “Thanks.”
Mental response:  “I’m super uncomfortable right now.  Why am I wearing this?  Oh wait, because apparently my waist needs to thinned out.”

bowiejudgingyou

“Are you on a diet?  You’ve totally lost weight?”
Verbal response:  “Oh, no.  But thanks!”
Mental response:  “I haven’t taken a lunch break at work in weeks because I’m over worked and stressed.  I’m dying a little every day and nearly passed out from hypoglycemia on Thursday.  Thank god for chocolates in my co-worker’s desk.  I wish I had chocolate right now.  Why is this bitch talking about diets?”

jdugingyou

I understand that compliments are generally well intentioned (although I’m sure we have all gotten compliments that are really thinly-veiled digs).  And I also understand that there is a tendency to notice bodies and appearance.  We are visual creatures.  But I can’t helped but get a little irked when this is the first, the automatic, the go-to way to compliment someone.  When I hear young girls, teens girls repeatedly getting messages “She’s so cute!” “Oh she is going to be such a looker!” “wow, look out for those boys when she grows up.”  I think that is where I hit the ceiling.  I grew up with all sisters and had like 3 friends when I was very little, so I don’t know, but do boys get messages like this?

Even as adults I feel like women’s appearances are complimented above all other traits, intelligence, humor, confidence, strength, tenacity.  I can use the example of my sisters and I:  1 Ph.D., 1 artist completing her Master’s degree, 1 working on her degree in forensic accounting, and me, finishing up my doctorate in psychology.  (We’re fucking badasses, if you haven’t noticed.)  But what do we hear when we are together, with friends or family?  And even feed to each other?  There is never a time to get away from those comments on our bodies and appearance.  Why?  We’re smart; we’re fucking hilarious; we’re driven and talented; we’re pretty stylish in our own (mostly very different) ways; as previously stated, we’re fucking badass.  So why are there always comments on the way we look?  They never make me feel good and so I don’t know how I’m supposed to react to them.

karen

I use this example of my family partly because it’s usually when I’m with my sisters that I’m with larger groups of people and these comments are made.  Left to my own devices I hang out with a one of like 4 people, boyfriend, best friend, the few school people I can tolerate being around and our conversations lean more toward geekery and beer.  And partly because it was during wedding shopping with my sister that this really began to irk me.  (Dress shopping is a wonderful way to make you hate yourself and everyone around, but they should be happy a faked a smile the whole weekend.  It only worsened my TMJ.)

bowie2

I have never head any body talk or body compliments that don’t put bodies on a hierarchy.  Comments like the ones above make it clear that thinner is better, losing weight is good, and how you got there doesn’t matter.  If I look thin because I forgo lunch 5 days a week due to stress, hey I still look thin and that will be complimented.  If I am painfully cinched into a dress to the point I can’t eat, Fuck it!  I look great!  There is value in being thinner, even if that is not natural to your body.  Rarely do we compliment people for putting on weight (the exception being in cases where there is concern about major health problems).  You will never hear “Oh look at you!  You got so pudgy!  You look great!” Because any indication that you are not thin is a problem.  I once called myself chubby around my research partner.  And he immediately defended me, from myself?  “No!  You’re not chubby, you’re great!  You look great!”  “umm…No, I am.  They sky is blue and I’m chubs.  It really is okay.”    I actually get annoyed when people defend Jennifer Lawrence with “Oh, she’s not fat!  She’s so thin!  She’s perfect!”  Well, 1)  JLaw is perfect, she doesn’t need you to say so.  2)  She’s not super thin, she’s not a size 2, and that’s cool.  We can acknowledge that, because it’s not a bad thing.  If she’s a “plus size” actress, do we need to deny that, or can we kind of embrace it?  3)  She’s also smart, funny, wonderfully poorly-spoken, and a badass, let’s talk about that.

jlawweight

I guess I don’t get.  I never will get it.  Why we need to talk about our bodies so much and do this whole back and forth of validation based on a body type that is named the best.  Why we gently encourage one another to have that body; the body is not ours, and for most of use, never will be and never should be.  There is no logic behind why we believe that is the “right” body.

I will never get it.  If someone does get it, enlighten me.  But I will continue in my existing level of awkwardness when it comes to discussion of bodies.  

jawbreaker

Some Clarification on Affluenza

The story of Ethan Couch  seems to have captivated much of the internet.  The 16 year-old, who killed 4 people because he was drunk driving, received probation and counseling for his offense.   Couch was referred to a luxurious rehabilitation site, to suit his specific needs and help address his symptoms, primarily an overwhelming sense of entitlement, a grandiose sense of self paired with a lack of recognition of others’ personal value, and belief that rules do not apply to him.  This may misdiagnosed as Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

affluenza (2)

Affluenza, it has has now been legally and medically termed.  A condition in which one fails to recognize that actions have consequences.  This condition results from never experiencing consequences in one’s life.  Parents fail to explain and enforce limit.  This usually begins at an early age; a child throws a tantrum and, rather than getting a time-out, they are given a new toy.  In essence, the child is placated, rather than punished.  As the child matures, this lax enforcement of rules and consequences eventually generalizes to outside of the home environment.  In school, the child may push boundaries, tease or bully classmates, refuse homework, or charm their way out of responsibilities.  This pattern of behaviors is reinforced by those around the child.  Parents provide inadequate or inappropriate responses to unacceptable behaviors, teachers in prestigious school are disempowered from appropriately disciplining the child, and legal consequences are offset by family wealth.  The underlying belief is that the child cannot or should not suffer consequences if they can be avoided.  This teaches the child, not to avoid bad behavior or even to avoid getting caught, but simply that consquences, no matter how serious, can be negotiated in a way where “everybody wins.”  This condition is highly associated with a melanin-deficiency and seven-figures in the bank (or trust fund, if under age 18).

Looking at the child through an ecosystemic lens, we can better understand how such behavior is reinforced by one’s environment.

If you look carefully, you can actually see how the world actually revolves around the child.

If you look carefully, you can actually see how the world actually revolves around the child.

Although some were taken aback by Couch’s sentence, which seemed light compared to his offense, there is actually a great deal of historical precedent for Affluenza.  As with many psychiatric diagnoses, we can recognize instances of the disorder long before we had defined and termed it.  For example, we may retrospectively diagnose Ted Kennedy and even Laura Bush with Affluenza.  In fact, it would seem that this particular disorder is common to those in politics.  Phil Spector seems to suffer a terrible, chronic case of Affluenza as well.   A quick internet search will also bring up a  list of well-to-do individuals who have suffered and appear to have made a full recovery from this malady.   Fictional portrayals are also common in the US.  Gossip Girl is a wonderful fictionalization of this disorder and it’s systemic impact.

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It would seem that treatments for such a diagnosis should begin early in life.  A Systemic treatment model would likely be appropriate.  If we re-visit Bronfenbrenner’s model, we can see imagine ways to tweak the various systems in order to treat, and perhaps even prevent, cases of Affluenza.

Let us look again at how each layer of influence and how it might contribute to Affluena.

Let us look again at each layer of influence and how it might contribute to Affluena.

With the growing wealth gap and loss of the Personal Responsibility Value in the upper class of all generations, we face a potential epidemic of Affluenza.

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Something!

I very very much apologize for lapsing in posting.  I have been incredibly busy and life has kind of sucked.  I also think I have spine cancer….maybe, not really, but maybe (There is a thing on my back and it hurts when I move.  Clearly this is cancer.)  I am also on the receiving end of referrals for people newly seeking healthcare…which sucks for me and my co-workers, but I guess is good for other people. But, I am forcing myself to put this up because it means that I will motivate myself to do more and to write.  So hopefully in the next few days there will be a real post, and then another post on another site that I have been trying to work on.

Preview!  Something either having to do with psychology or Affordable Healthcare (or both) will happen, soon.   Maybe women?  Or maybe some more Cumberjunk (probably, OMG SHERLOCK!).  Just kidding, this one will be real, I’m sorry.  I’m working on…something.  Now to nurse this lump on my back that prevents me from moving or sitting still or sleeping.

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